Assessing Overall Maintenance Management Practices  

Advising on Specific Maintenance Issues

Aligning Business, Strategy, and Performance Measures

Evaluating Existing Capital Project Management Practices  

Do you have a structured approach to maintenance?

What is included in your maintenance approach? 

In “Uptime – Strategies for Excellence in Maintenance Management” by John Dixon Campbell (ISBN 1-56327-053-6), John introduces a structured approach to understanding maintenance and its components, as shown in the structure below:


It is a structure we continue to use for evaluating asset management practices and find it extremely useful.  To help your understanding of it, we will provide a short and high-level overview of some of the considerations related to components of this structure.

Leadership Level

At the leadership level, the direction for the organization is determined, and the resources required to “get it done” are allocated.


Maintenance strategy and objectives needs to be developed to support the “top level” strategy and objectives of the organization.  Strategy and objectives will develop into the criteria for decision-making.  Consistency in criteria for asset management will show in allocation of resources, both in terms of capital and human resources.  Typical indicators of strategy focus are the selection criteria of physical asset related projects, and the rigor and focus used in maintenance processes.  Typical problems found, are poorly defined strategy and poor communication of the strategy.


In the Management section, there is the need to deal with the organizational issues related to the management of resources needed to maintain the physical assets.  This includes organizational structure, organizational behaviour and change management, and human resources management, as well as accounting and finance.  Typical maintenance issues we find in human resource management relate to communication and accountability.  Skill level of the resources and training, are also issues that often times need to be addressed.


The Control level is where the day-to-day work is executed.  The strategy and objectives have been addressed; now it is a matter of working to meet them.

Data Management

Data management deals with the data and information required for decision-making, and for managing maintenance on a daily basis.   Information technology systems used can be CMMS (Computerized Maintenance Management Systems), EAMS (Enterprise Asset Management Systems), or ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) systems.  Many of the issues are process related, where the systems are not properly developed or configured to support the work.  The users may see a great deal of their effort required with little value to themselves.  With poor understanding of the value of the information, the result is often poor quality data, with little value.


Performance measures for maintenance need to drive the behaviours that support, or measure the progress toward meeting the organization’s strategy and objectives.  Where the objectives are externally focused, or where quantum changes are required, benchmarking is often used.  Often the measures are not tied to strategy and objectives, not effectively communicated, or lack the necessary external viewpoint.


Tactics need to be determined based upon the organizational requirements.  The use of a rigorous method (i.e. RCM – reliability centred maintenance) to determine the appropriate tactics, will provide the most economical method of maintaining the assets based upon the risks involved.  Tactics developed from RCM are categorized as predictive (e.g. vibration analysis, oil analysis, infrared imaging, ultrasonic), preventive maintenance (i.e. maintenance done at predetermined intervals to reduce failure), failure finding (e.g. testing protection devices, testing standby units), or "run-to-failure".  Where the outcomes of failure resulting in “run-to-failure” tactics are not acceptable, redesign may be required.  Often maintenance tactics are very reactive, resulting in tactics that are inappropriate to the potential failure or outcomes.  These are often a result of historical practices developed with little rigor, and seldom reviewed.

Work Management

Effective work management focuses upon having the maintenance tactics executed in the most appropriate manner.  Emergency maintenance needs to be done quickly and competently, and through their ongoing experience (and in some cases, focus), most organizations are good at emergency maintenance.  Much more maintenance would benefit from effective maintenance planning and scheduling and in its greater efficiency in the use of the workforce.  Planning needs to be done by dedicated resources with sufficient time prior to execution of the work to ensure all the necessary resources (i.e. human resources with necessary skill sets, materials, equipment, and information) are co-ordinated to be at the work site at the time the equipment is available.  After the work is planned, it can then be scheduled for execution.  Typical issues are planning is done by the resources that must execute the work; work is scheduled, but not planned; or the planning process may include only human resources and materials.

Materials Management

In “Uptime”, John included MRO (Maintenance, Repair, Overhaul) materials management under the planning and scheduling section, but we now view it as a separate section.  Frequently, the maintenance department does not manage MRO materials.  Problems can arise where the objective and performance measures create a significant conflict between the groups managing the MRO materials and managing maintenance.  Typical issues are excess inventory (including obsoletes, duplicates, etc.) particularly for MRO materials managed by maintenance, or poor service levels, where MRO materials management are focused on financial measures only.

Continuous Improvement

Continuous Improvement looks beyond the day-to-day operations to see how in the longer term to improve currently practices.

Reliability Analysis

Reliability Analysis is used to improve maintenance tactics.  Maintenance tactics can be improved through the use of rigorous methodology (e.g. RCM) to define the tactics, and through the use of root cause failure analysis to determine if suitable tactics could have been used to prevent the failure.  Typical issues are similar to the issues with tactics, and the tactics may remain unchanged, even though the evidence from failures indicates they are not appropriate.  Often the data in the IT systems (e.g. EAMS, CMMS, or ERP), is poor quality (e.g. incomplete, inaccurate), and analysis of repeat failures is not effective.

Autonomous Maintenance

Autonomous maintenance helps to improve the “ownership” of production systems and equipment and foster greater co-operation between operations and maintenance, through assigning the most appropriate resource for the maintenance tactics developed for the equipment.  For maintenance tasks that do not require the skills and knowledge of a skilled maintenance tradesperson, operators could be trained to perform appropriate tasks.  Typical tasks would include cleaning the equipment and the area around it, lubrication, inspection of equipment condition, adjustments to equipment (e.g. set-up, depending upon requirements), and minor repairs.  Problems occur where there are strong lines of demarcation between the duties of operations and maintenance.  This may occur through historical reasons, or where there is a fear of potential layoffs.

Quantum Leaps

Quantum leaps looks beyond incremental changes to existing systems and processes.  It looks more in terms of what really needs to be done, and given the organizational objectives, how would be the best way to do it.

Process Redesign

Process redesign looks at what processes are used to manage maintenance and materials, and are they optimized to achieve the best results for the tools used, given the objectives to be met.  Typical issues are processes that vary due to the group performing the processes, processes not defined or documented, and processes not optimized given the available tools (e.g. optimizing use of EAMS, CMMS, or ERP) and objectives. 

We can work with your organization to assist in any of the above areas, and can help you prioritize which areas are the most critical to your organization.